Growing up, I adored fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin. I was introduced to Frankenstein a little later, and that too fascinated me. Only when I was older did I realise that these stories all had one thing in common – they all had their roots in Germany.
If you’re searching for holidays to Germany, follow this route to discover the supernatural places and sightseeing experiences that have inspired so many fantastical stories…
The history behind the famous tale
Frankenstein, one of the earliest and most famous science fiction novels, was written by Mary Shelley – a British author, born in London in 1797 – who travelled through Germany on her way to Geneva, in Switzerland, where she wrote the story. It’s rumoured that she visited Frankenstein Castle along the way, which overlooks the city of Darmstadt.
So get ready to adventure with us to Frankenstein’s Germany – to seek out the myths, legends and sites that inspired a story that’s still going strong – 200 years after it was written!
Stop 1: Mysterious magnetic rocks
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Just behind Frankenstein Castle, in a remote part of the forest, you’ll find a strange set of magnetic stones that will play havoc with your compass! It’s a weird but natural phenomenon, but that hasn’t stopped it from being considered unworldly – and a perfect location for local nature enthusiasts to perform a variety of rituals!
Stop 2: The Fountain of Youth
Behind the herb garden of the castle there is a fountain of youth – a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. Under the first full moon following Walpurgis Night (30th April – the eve of a feast day in Germany) old women from nearby villages used to try it out for themselves. Details are sketchy, but it’s said that the one who succeeded became the age she had been on the night of her wedding!
Stop 3: Ghosts, dragons and knights
SyFy TV show Ghost Hunters International visited the castle in 2008, where investigators recorded a sound that was translated as ‘Arbo is here’ (the name of a knight of the castle). A second sound bite translated as ‘come here’ – and the team left, convinced that there was paranormal activity at play!
Not far from the castle you’ll find a ‘sea of rocks’ and you’ll hear about the legend of Lord Georg, a knight who slayed a dragon. You can visit his tomb in the church at Nieder Beerbach, just to the east of the castle.
Uncover more secret, supernatural treasures…
As you can see, when it comes to holidays in Germany, you won’t be short of stories and mysteries. The whole area of Odenwald, where the castle is situated, is made up of dark forests and narrow valleys. You’ll soon see how Germany inspired the authors, writers and storytellers.
If you’re the exploring type, you can take your own tour of Frankenstein Castle while staying at Campingplatz Herbolzheim – it’s just a two-hour drive in the car. Not only that, it’s a great area for mountain biking and hiking – a perfect location for the adventurous family.
Find the perfect places to stay in Germany – and if you visit the castle, or explore the surrounding area, remember you can share your experiences on our Facebook page, or share photos with us on Twitter and Instagram.